Can We Be Sure That We Are Interpreting Evidence Correctly?
This short paper considers some of the concerns that have arisen with the idea of Totally Internal Reflection of electromagnetic radiation occurring at the boundaries of the Universe. And the validity of conclusions from this supposition that led to a vastly extended and partially virtual view of that system.
The major problem with the suggestion that Totally Internal Reflection takes place at the boundaries of our Universe is that they must certainly give the movements of real sources an opposite direction when seen via reflection.
Now, the conclusion unavoidable from this suggestion is that such a dramatic reverse in that component of direction perpendicular to the area of the boundary where reflection occurred, and this would be discerned, and it would be demolish the principle of all distant sources moving away.
And, of course, conversely, if such “approaching” sources were not in evidence, it would demolish this possibility outright.
Now, certainly this latter seems to be the case, for no such approaching distant sources have been observed. So, such evidence seems to have totally scuppered the suggestion of Totally Internal Reflections, and the whole idea should be dropped immediately.
But, there are other possibilities.
Are we being too simple in our methods of judging these distant moving entities? Clearly, we can only really use ourselves as a certain point of reference. They all seem to be moving away from us, and we are certainly NOT a reflection.
This clearly implies either an expanding Universe, or the expansion of Space itself. A reflecting final boundary of the Universe seems to be untenable.
Also recent mathematical research into multiple reflections from both the leading and trailing edges of an expanding shell universe make the consequences even more incompatible with observations. For these investigations seem to indicate that such reflections will tend to bring these multiple reflections into roughly radial directions with respect to the centre of that Universe. And this is the case, whether these are outwards or those apparently inwards due to the final reflection. And, again, the evidence from observations does not support this either.
Yet, before abandoning this idea altogether, perhaps we should see if, once again, we are stretching a formalism too far, and by this, extrapolating it to absurdity once more.
For, as with everything else, you cannot use a particular simplification forever, as it will certainly run out of applicability and fail in the limit.
And in Reality Phases naturally occur.
Let us consider the differences between a very, very early Universe, and an old one like ours is now!
The early Universe will be (in comparison) very small, and hence, if reflections do take place, they will be frequent – and even traversing right around the Universe in a series of cycles that will then be possible. The results will be as we have assumed in this suggestion. But in an old Universe, the sizes will have become much too big, indeed actually so colossal, that it has become impossible to discern a current boundary that is real. Indeed, this research has proved that because of the finite velocity of light. An observer will never see such a boundary-as-is, because every seen part of it will be from different times in the past, and hence from their positions then.
This will make a spherical boundary appear egg-shaped. [The calculations for this have been published. See SHAPE Journal’s Special Issue - Can We See The Edge?]
Indeed, to make our calculations and placing ourselves as the observer in the best place for making the necessary calculations proved impossible. We had to position ourselves at some point that made the calculations easiest.
Also, our usual means of measuring speeds of sources in Cosmology is almost never direct for very distant objects. It usually depends upon the famed Doppler Effect, which implies that a Red Shift in received light means that its source must be moving away, and the amount of that shift gives a measure of how fast that is happening.
And Hubble’s extraction of a relation between distance and speed, then allowed Red Shift to also be used to give distance too.
Anyway, let us not get deflected from the main problem.
The evidence does NOT support Totally Internal Reflection at a boundary, because we don’t detect any light coming towards us from a seemingly approaching source.
But, if we are using colour (Red Shift) to determine direction and speed of a source, we will certainly fail with reflected light.
For the observed Red Shift will still be the same, won’t it? Seeing something red in a mirror will still be red won’t it, and it will have identical shift characteristics. So, depending upon the shift to give distance will certainly fail? And maybe we have a problem with the assumption of Red Shift itself? For doesn’t it assume that a wavelength is stretched by the receding source? Leaving behind on a stationary Space a wider trace that would have been laid by a stationary source?
But, have we actually got “waves” in Empty Space, or only quanta-carrying receptacles of such energy?
How then do they get stretched? Surely, such “contained” quanta of energy, probably held in internal orbiting sub-particles, will be inviolate? Whatever wavelength was stored as such a quantum, would be totally unaffected by the speed of the original source, and would be isolated from an expanding Space too.
The usual supposition is that the trace is spread out over time, and hence covering more space and hence having a longer wavelength a red shift.
How could this work when the quantum is being carried inside a receptacle as an internal orbit?
Clearly, though the obvious conclusion is that the basic assumption of a reflecting boundary is mistaken, there are other questions that are not yet clarified.
As mentioned earlier, the main tenets of the idea of reflected light at the Universe boundary does only seem to fit in a very young Universe. For one thing, multiple reflections of light from a single source and then be received by a single observer, can only take place if there is sufficient time for them all to actually reach that observer.
Two cases stand out!
ONE: More recent production of light a long way from any boundary might not have time to get there and back to a given observer. No reflections would then be seen. And,
TWO: A source near to the boundary would certainly have not such an enormous gap between the direct light and its reflection at the boundary reaching the same observer.
NOTE: Remember, we are talking about continually emitting sources; so different paths could still have the light from both arriving together at the observer. They will just have been emitted at different times in the past.
Yet a recent case of the latter might be so far away from the observer that neither the direct nor the reflected light would yet have reached him.
The point about these considerations is that there will be definite zones, which will be seen differently by an observer. So, somehow, these will have to be thought-through, and described, so that we don’t use the situation in one zone for that in another, OR, even more misleading, use a single interpretation for all of the different situations.
Finally, a reflection is NOT a different source, but merely a different path for the light from a given source to take.
Any emanations from the actual source will have the same properties in any reflection: they cannot be changed. But the light traversing a different path, and the nature of that journey will not necessarily be the same.
The most important difference will be in the reflection itself. We don’t know the nature of the reflecting boundary (if such exists). It maybe far from smooth and even. So the effect of that on the light, plus the difference in time for alternative paths, will deliver the same source but from different times in the past. Each view will be from a different time in the source’s history.
In conclusion, the evidence seems to be against there being Totally Internal Reflection at the boundaries of our Universe, but there are still good reasons for carrying that assumption forward to investigate the above identified, and still to be established, possibilities. Science has always been replete with “obvious assumptions” that have both misled, and ultimately, have been proved to be mistaken.
The original theory of this model of the universe is best described in this video...